Thursday, March 28, 2013

Airports: A Study in Misogyny, Xenophobia, and Poor Wardrobe Choices.



It is 10:11 in the morning, and I currently awaiting my flight, Delta 5785, to La Guardia airport in New York CIty. I sit at my gate disheveled, caffeine-deprived, and empty stomached as I cannot eat or consume caffeine before a flight as they upset my stomach. I write you this email from the wilds of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania amidst a hoard of those wandering by: families in shorts and tank tops running to their (I assume) Disney-bound airports, business men with rolling briefcases, older couples treating themselves to their retirements, and flight crews trouncing along to their next gate. 

I sit back and think of the emotions I am put through in an airport. At 8:55 this morning, I made the conscious decision to pull one of my costume-jewelry rings and place it on my hand like a wedding band. Have I finally snapped from the multiple weddings I'm in, save-the-dates, and engagement announcements? No. I made this decision because I am tired of men hitting on me when I am alone, of their noticeably creepy stares, and of those who sit too-close-for-comfort in airport gates. I am not afraid of men, mind you, I enjoy their company over that of women as they are often without ulterior motive. Except for when they make comments. "you must've worn those skinny jeans so that the TSA wouldn't have to pat you down," an older, Italian gentleman said to me in line at Security this morning. "they can just look at you and see what you've got." He continued by scanning my body with his eyes. No, sir, I wore skinny jeans because they are what I grabbed out of my closet last night and am wearing them happily- because I've lost about 10 pounds since January. 

I am then snapped out of my hatred for old creeps by the TSA agent, who barks at all of us that "we don't have to wait for (him) to wave us through the metal detector." I am barefoot in an airport, being yelled at like I'm in grade school. This, after having meticulously removed layers of clothing and shoes, taking my electronics and their assorted cords (thank god I remembered to separate them and put them in a ziploc bag for quick in-and-out) out of my bags, and waving my photo ID and ticket about like a blubbering idiot. And so, I am barefoot in an airport with god-knows-what skeevy things are on my feet now because my 25, tax single white as the moon getting hit on men left and right female self poses some kind of threat to national security. Xenophobes. If I had an accent, the TSA guard that checked my ID would have actually bothered to look at my ID. I batted my eyelashes and chatted him up while he stamped my ticket without looking at my ID. Way to go, men in America. 

So, I'm here at my gate and trying to occupy my time while waiting for my 11:55am flight that I have arrived 2 hours early for in order to receive the aforementioned xenophobic, misogynistic treatment. What else could I further enjoy today in humanity but: poor wardrobe choices. Oh my god, yes, I am in my skinny jeans and it is not the most flattering choice for myself but I have been outdone, again, by Pittsburgh's finest. Perhaps it is the very Irish woman with very red, curly hair and fair skin that it wearing lime neon green- but not the kind that complements her green eyes. The kind that makes her look like she just got "gacked" on Nickelodeon. Maybe it is the girl wearing a sweatshirt-turned into a dressed because it's a 3x and she's a size 3. My favorite was the woman wearing two different color crocs. I can't even. Then there are the overdressed-for-this-flight people. The sly guys with their hair slicked back, aviators on, collared shirt tucked into pressed khakis and alligator loafers. You know, the ones that I can smell before I see coming down their terminal's hallway. Then there are their female counterparts. The chicks in the way-too-tight pencil skirts with tucked in blouses that have a neckline that may or may not show off their areolas, and for god's sake they are wearing 4 and a half inch platform pumps. Let's hope and pray they are not on my flight, and if they are, that we don't crash and suddenly need the inflatable slide of doom- lord knows those shoes will catch and tear. 

And a midst this chaos, this sheer insanity of combined things that will drive any sane person to lose their faith in humanity: I witnessed a family reuniting with their grandma in arrivals. A child who didn't recognize her for a minute, an older son that was elated to see his mom for the first time in years (by the look on his face), a daughter-in-law who so carefully yielded herself by handing over a young baby, and then the child, upon realizing it's grandma, tackling her with a hug. It was heartwarming, and reminded me of when we used to pick up Grandma Dorothy at the airport or even when we were dropping her off. It was a bittersweet moment for me, to feel so elated for this other family and suddenly so sad all at once. 

So of course, as I am sitting in my near-silent terminal, and while I was thinking of Dorothy, airports, and travel- two birds flew down from the ceiling and landed on chairs near me. 

You guessed it: two chickadees. 

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